Was it a pretty win? Nope- not by any means. We'll start with this photo where the team is down two starters to begin with. One is out for the season, and that is a big loss to the team. But, he is right there supporting them and being another set of eyes for the coaches. Even without him on the field, he is going to be an asset to this team this year.
The game starts out pretty normal. But these Charlo boys....are BIG. I underestimated their size while I was up in the stands before the game started. When I got down on the sideline and realized how big they actually were...I seriously began to wonder what was in the water.
I love this set of photos of Casey on a QB keep. If you don't click on all of them, be sure to click on photo number 3. I love that you can see where Casey is looking, and how aware he is of what is going on around him. It amazes me how much he has grown as an athlete from last season to this season. Proud of you little brother!
After that, Tanner snags this pass from Casey. Were looking pretty good at this point. (BTW- Tanner snags another catch like this later in the game that I didn't get. The Charlo field has maybe 12 lights TOTAL...so it was REALLY dark.)
But a few plays after this awesome snag...Casey gets hit and sprains his ankle, and is out for a large part of the rest of the game. For the next 2.5 quarters, it basically becomes a battle of defense.
I am going to give a shout out here to Levi Broksle. I would say the majority of the Charlo team outweighed him by at least 30 pounds, if not more. My dad let me know that Levi had 21 tackles.. He worked his butt off in this game. He also took the snaps as quarterback when Mike went out with some pain. He is the one hanging on to the jersey in this photo below, trying whatever he can to get this guy down. He played this game with a big heart and it showed. I often think that is much more important than your size.
Now I am going to talk about Tanner and what leadership he showed in this game. I don't know his exact stats for this game yet, but I will bet you that his solo tackles and assists are through the roof (just got the stats, he had 13 solos and 20 assists. CRAZY!). He was a major part in keeping Charlo scoreless until the 4th quarter. And truthfully...those six points for Charlo were a bad call. I promise I am not being the bitter fan. They were a yard away from scoring that touchdown, even the Charlo fans that were standing right there said he wasn't in. My dad asked. :) Such is small town high school football....you don't get challenges or official reviews. ;)
Anyways- I have never claimed to be a pro when it comes to sports photos. I just shoot where I think the action is going. Well- there aren't many shots that I took without Tanner in them at this game. He was all over, completely in their face. Which we needed. I know he had to be exhausted, hurting, thirsty....but he stayed in and made a HUGE difference in the outcome of this game. WTG Tanner- you are amazing kid.
Late in the third quarter, basically the 4th quarter...Casey got back in the game as QB. He had been pacing the sidelines (with a limp), working on his ankle. I only got this one shot of him that turned out during the rest of the game, due to the darkness. I can't imagine how much it hurt to play on the ankle, but the team needed him. And that is what Casey does. He plays through adversity. I watched him do it last year, so I knew he would end up back out on that field.
The coaches made some adjustments in this quarter, and used Tanner to gain the yards they needed to get across the field. He snagged another awesome pass from Casey, and then punched the ball in on a 2-yard run for the first touchdown of the game. After that Charlo tied the game up with their 79 yard touchdown. (You know...home field advantage.) The Panthers drove the ball down the field again, and Casey scored the winning touchdown on a keep. The 2 point conversion failed by inches, and the Panther defense shut down Charlo in the last minutes of the game to win it.
And once again, they get to sing their song of victory. Of course, the naysayers are already talking. But I say...let them talk. In the end, a win is a win. In the end it doesn't matter if you won by a point, or by 70 of them. We don't know right now who will be the 4 teams in the western playoffs, nor do we know which two teams will be playing on that last Saturday of the entire season. I can bet you that last year no one "important" thought Sheridan would be one of them. Be proud of your win, Panthers. It is one win closer to that final game of the season. Charlo was fired up, BIG, and didn't want to lose again. So please...be PROUD of your win! And start getting ready to beat some Warrior tail this Friday!